By John Burton
MIDDLETOWN – The township planning board this week has reversed its previous denial, allowing Trinity Hall all girls private school to move to build its permanent campus, setting the stage for an additional legal battle from those opposed to the plan.
The board at Wednesday’s meeting approved the school’s plans to construct its facility on a 63-acre undeveloped and largely wooded Chapel Hill Road tract.
The board’s decision came in the aftermath of an Oct. 24 ruling by state Superior Court Judge Paul A. Kapalko from the bench in Freehold, responding to the school’s appeal of the board’s denial of the development application. Kapalko, in response to a motion made by the school’s attorney, remanded the matter back to the planning board after invalidating a portion of a township ordinance the board had relied on in part for its denial of the application back in June.
In a released statement, Sean Clifford, who chairs the Trinity Halls board of trustees, said in part: “The school is very pleased with the state court’s ruling and with the Planning Board’s approval of our application. We believe that the school is and will continue to be a good neighbor and a point of pride for the Township.”
Trinity Hall is a private, Roman Catholic religious-based, all girls private school that is currently operating out of a Leonardo site it leases from the township.
Homeowners of the residential area of Chapel Hill Road and the surrounding neighborhoods had voice concern and opposition over the large project, believing it to be too intense a use for the area, pose safety hazards and would have a negative impact on their quality of life and property values.
One objector, who asked to not be identified, said an appeal of the judge’s ruling and board decision is forthcoming.